Alex Naveja cold-contacted 35 Minor League Baseball teams this fall in his quest for a play-by-play job. He needed only one yes and he got it. Naveja will be calling road games and assisting in media relations and sales next summer for the Eugene Emeralds. Eugene is the High-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to pursue a career in broadcasting when I realized that I wasn’t going to play baseball in the Major Leagues. So I decided, if I can’t play in the Major Leagues, then I would like to cover a Major League team, whether it is by becoming a reporter or by becoming a broadcaster,” Naveja enthuses.
He continues, “It also means a lot to me that the Emeralds are only one state away from home and my friends and family can still come visit me anytime. Family is everything to me.”
The Emeralds job come about when Naveja, who is bilingual, began cold-contacting teams about starting a Spanish broadcast stream. “I would give a short list of the benefits that a Spanish broadcast would provide. Teams would then ask for more information in regards to starting the stream and I had already created a full proposal as to how the stream can be started.”
The cold-contacting strategy wasn’t new to Naveja. He tried is last year as well. In 2020, though, the Los Angeles-area native limited his search to teams in California. “I let every job slip away, and when I saw other broadcasters getting jobs, I felt regret for not even applying. I finally got over it this year and decided to apply out-of-state. I started with all the teams on the West Coast and slowly moved Eastward,” he recalls.
Results varied. Some teams requested meetings with Naveja; others didn’t reply. “I started contacting teams by the end of September right after the season ended. The Ems didn’t get back to me until the second week of October.”
The Emeralds asked Naveja if he was only interested in Spanish. “I responded saying that I am also interested in English opportunities as well,” he recalls. He’ll be broadcasting for the Ems in English.
2021 has been a busy year for Naveja. He’s the softball voice at UCLA and has called baseball, volleyball and women’s soccer for Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. He’s also the voice of Bishop Amat football near Los Angeles. Naveja has been an STAA member since 2020.
“I have remained as a member of STAA because of all the helpful resources the website has to offer, which has helped me to get the Ems job in the first place,” Naveja says. “I can’t take all the credit for that, especially with the countless emails and text messages I have sent to [STAA Owner] Jon Chelesnik, asking for his opinion and for his help. STAA has also helped me create some friendships and connections. It’s a great way to make new friends!”
One step closer
Naveja believes the Emeralds opportunity is important in his quest to reach the Big Leagues. “Broadcasting on a daily basis will help me get the necessary tools to be eligible for an MLB job and will help me improve as a broadcaster. To be affiliated with an MLB team gives me a lot of excitement and encouragement that I am one step closer to reaching my goals.
“Anyone is capable of anything, if you believe in yourself and truly believe that you can make it to the top, then you can do it, even if there’s a slight chance.”